For whatever reason, people continue to think it's okay to wear headdresses and other Native American clothing as part of their cool new video or Halloween costume or whatever. Two weeks ago, No Doubt learned the hard way that it's racist and dumb to make a video that's basically a "hot" version of Cowboys & Indians; last week, it was Victoria's Secrets turn to offend.
At the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, models wore all sorts of "sexy" clothing. Caity Weaver has an excellent rundown of the outfits and what's "sexy" about them. Soothsayer that she is, she noted one outfit and described its appeal as "SEXY IS: Blowing kisses to angry emails." That outfit? A Native American headdress on model Karlie Kloss.
The headdress, apparently, was supposed to represent November (because of Thanksgiving?), but for Native Americans and others, it was just offensive.
"We have gone through the atrocities to survive and ensure our way of life continues," Navajo Nation spokesman Erny Zah said in an interview Monday. "Any mockery, whether it's Halloween, Victoria's Secret - they are spitting on us. They are spitting on our culture, and it's upsetting."
Jennie Luna, who is Chicana and Caxcan, said society largely is ignorant toward indigenous spirituality and doesn't understand what should not be marketed commercially. She and others say more education about Native American cultures is needed.
"We are people; we're not a fashion statement," Luna said. "We are people who are facing serious issues, and for them to further perpetuate the type of stereotypes and disregard for a community's way of life is unacceptable."
Victoria's Secret, of course, issued a standard apology - "We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone," the company said – and promised not to show the outfit in next month's broadcast of the event.
And Kloss apologized too:
I am deeply sorry if what I wore during the VS Show offended anyone. I support VS's decision to remove the outfit from the broadcast.
— Karlie Kloss (@karliekloss) November 11, 2012
So, this was a learning experience for everyone? Everyone learned the lesson that it's almost always a terrible idea to wear a Native American headdress? And there were no bizarre justifications on Victoria's Secret's Facebook wall, right?
"you should not be caving like this Vistoria's Secret! If you are ok to offend all of the religions out there who believe in angels and you are ok to be risque mixing the religious symbol with the sex you sell, then you should certainly not be concerning yourself with the Native Americans"
"sigh! there should NOT be an apology in the first place, this is getting ridiculous, the outfit was sexy, the girl was beautiful and everything looked good.Apologizing because some people don't have anything better to do with their lives but complaint about everything it is a really big, big mistake."
Indians should get over themselves. They don't mind having tax-free casinos, what culture does that represent???
"What about an apology to the troops"
"It's riduculous that there even had to be an apology. How is this different from my daughter dressing up as pochahontas at halloween? it's ment to be fun and flirty, not a political statement. Grow a thicker skin."
Oh. Well, maybe next time.
[Image via AP]